Out on the Red Carpet: LGBTQ Emmy Nominated Performers


It’s here!  The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are taking place tonight, September 18, 2016, broadcast live on ABC at 7pm ET/4pm PT.  Earlier this week, GLAAD profiled several LGBTQ behind-the-lens producers, writers and directors … recognizing the tremendous contributions they make in setting the table for stories to be told by the many talented performers in our midst.  Right now, we look at those in front of the camera.

While scripted narratives may get alot of the glory, documentary producers play a special role.  For example, we’ve previously spotlighted the festival circuit award-winner Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Fourthe story of four Latina lesbians who were wrongfully convicted in 1994 of aggravated sexual assault and indecency against two young girls in San Antonio, TX.   In 2012 and 2013, after one of the accusers recanted and the forensic evidence used in the trial was debunked, the four women were released from prison … but they are still without freedom.  Investigation Discovery airs the world television premiere on Saturday, October 15 from 8-10 PM ET.

Making of a MurdererLast week, out creators Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos shared two Emmys for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Writing for a Non-Fiction Program, and Laura Ricciardi won for Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Series for Making a Murder: Fighting for Their Lives, part of a Netflix documentary series that examined crime stories from an in-depth investigative format.  Before a scripted outline of actual events is brought to life on the screen, there are stories that demand to be told in the harsh light of reality; and that is why documentary producers spend years chronicling and shaping accounts of what happens in our world.

So before the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Primetime Emmy acting nominees walk down that red carpet … let’s spotlight LGBTQ honorees that are accelerating acceptance by changing the narrative of who we are and what we contribute to the world through the visual arts.  They are all previous nominees at the top of their game; fierce, funny and extremely creative.   Let's begin.

Sarah Paulson

Known for the range of characters she portrays on screen and on Broadway (The Glass Menagerie and Talley’s Follies), SARAH PAULSON is a double nominee for her portrayal of Hypodermic Sally on FX’s American Horror Story:  Hotel (Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie) and as Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, (Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie) also on FX.  As exemplified by her 6 Emmy noms to date, Sarah brings creativity and intensity to every role she portrays.  It’s also been confirmed that she will return for Season Six of AHS.


Tituss BurgessAlways a fan favorite, TITUSS BURGESS received his second nomination as Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Titus Andronicus in the hit Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Funny, bubbly, vocal and ever with a song, Titus is one of those memorable characters that lives on long after the episode is over.  And Season 2 was especially fun due to the introduction of a love interest, Mikey, for Titus.  As he shared with TheWrap: “It’s really funny to watch Titus be vulnerable and have to consider someone else’s feelings.”


Having come a long way fromThe Big Gay Sketch Show and a CBS Sketch Comedy Showcase at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, KATE McKINNON garnered her third Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  From Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Clinton, to the hilariously weird Mermaid, Kate also appears on theatre screens in this summer’s Ghostbusters.


We know JANE LYNCH from the many film and television scripted roles that have garnered her 22 industry award wins and 29 nominations; among them Glee, Two and a Half Men, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration.  Her “performance” as game show host has brought her 3 Emmy noms and 2 wins.  Since its 2013 debut, Jane has been nominated every year for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for Hollywood Game Night; and won the first two!  We’ll see if the third time is also charmed.


Lily TomlinWith 23 nominations and 6 wins, LILY TOMLIN is no stranger to Emmy’s Red Carpet.  The Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Kennedy Center Honoree always presents dignity and humor with strength and integrity in every role she inhabits.  Nominated once again for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Frankie in Netflix’ Grace and Frankie, Lily, and her co-star Jane Fonda, are role models for older women everywhere … but especially in the entertainment industry.

According to a recent USC Annenberg Study, The Rare & Ridiculed:  Senior Citizens in the 100 Top Films of 2015, “Older women in film are outnumbered at a rate of 2.7 to 1 compared to their older male counterparts.”  To see older women, strong and dynamic women (period!), on television provides authenticity to others still dealing with ageism in our world. And to see an out, older and extremely talented artist working across media platforms, honored with accolades and about to receive the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award … this accelerates acceptance of all LGBTQ people here and around the world.


Accelerating acceptance of LGBTQ people is most powerfully done one story at a time ... one image at a time ... one episode at a time … and one incredibly gifted performance at a time.  Content matters, and the power of entertainment media cannot be denied if we are to move to a place where you can “just be”:  A world that moves past “others” and proudly walks towards limitless possibilities.